Could This Cedar Rapids Middle School Be Demolished?
Wilson Middle School in Cedar Rapids is nearly 100 years old. But the building is in jeopardy thanks to a proposed plan for Cedar Rapids High Schools and Middle Schools.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that this new $312 million plan hinges on district voters approving a bond vote. The school board is expected to set a timeline for the plan next month, including taking that bond referendum to voters by next September. According to school officials, one of the main goals of the plan is to reduce the number of middle schools in the district, helping to create a feeder system for local high schools. It would also reduce operational and maintenance costs for the district, according to the Gazette.
An older proposal had Wilson being renovated and an addition being built on. But the new plan calls for a new middle school to be built on the north side of Cedar Rapids. The old plan was viewed as inequitable because Washington High School, which Wilson feeds into, would be the only high school without a new middle school attached to it. But the decision is facing criticism from local historians too.
The Gazette reports that the group Save CR Heritage is opposed to the demolition. Historians point out that the school, which opened in 1925, features unique architectural detail and that the building is historically significant. The group's statement says that putting Wilson on the chopping block shows that the city doesn't respect the heritage of the southwest side of Cedar Rapids like it does other quadrants of the city.